Trying to get a disabled persons bus pass

Hi, Wonder if anyone has an experience in trying to get a disabled persons bus pass in the west midlands area.

I have lived in Weston Super Mare for the past 15 years and come under North Somerset council, where I had a disabled persons bus pass for about 10 years.

12 weeks ago I moved to Stourbridge with my family and applied for a bus pass. I sent them my PIP letter of entitlement and a copy of my most update to date report from a professional which was my speech and language report.

They have replied with emails and ldtters saying that this information is not enough.

My mum rang them to see what they wanted and they just ran through the list thats in the leaflet, not giving her move information. The man on the phone said that Autism/Aspergers wouldn't get a bus pass as they were classed as developmental disabilites not learning difficulties. Mum can't rember his exact words but he said something about people with Autism could be intelligent and get GCSEs and if you had GCSEs you wouldn't need a bus pass.

I attend ASPIE in Worcestershire that is a group for Adults with Asperger Syndrome and everybody in the group except for me has a disabled bus pass. They applied to Worcester for theres and they only had to show their PIP letter and they got one.

When I read the website it said that the bus pass can be used off peak times anywhere in England so then how can it be a different application process for different areas?

I am 20 years old and looking for employment which is difficult to do without a bus pass. Its not just the financial aspect its the getting on the bus and having to find the money, ask for a ticket, have the bus driver tell me its a different price to what I paid yesterday - I find it all too difficult to cope with. If I had a bus pass i could just get on the bus a lot easier.

I do have a driving licence - I was determined to prove people wrong and show how I could pass a driving test (in a manual car too!) but I dont have regular access to a car. Also, I passed my driving test last October and am still not confident evnough to drive in places I don't know and withoug somebody being in the front seat of the car next to me.

I am not a confident person and stress over lots of things - i've had to have help just to write this email! I take regualar medication for stress/anxiety and my doctor has referred me to a counsellor.

Has anybody had experience of this? Does anybody live in the west midlands area and been able to get a bus pass with asperger syndrome? 

I have so many reports/letters from professionals that I feel could back up my application (and in nofth somerset they did) but they all say Asperger or Autism on them and I'm frightened if I just send them off they'll just send them straight back saying no.

thanks for any help/suggestions with this

  • Hi Katmatt

    I've not got a disabled bus pass but I just did a bit of research on the internet.

    I live in Staffordshire which give the following information:

    Staffordshire eligibility for learning conditions

    I also looked for what conditions you shouldn't drive. 

    It seems to me that with so many other things in life, the 'headline' of all these benefits and concessions does not represent the reality.  Governments put out ideas that they are helping people and then create rules to make as few eligible as possible.  That linked to different interpretations of the rules makes for a whole load of different treatment depending on where you live, and as the local authority seem to pick up the tab they will often try to get out of their responsibilities by interpreting the rules liberally or otherwise according to how much money they have.

    The gist of Staffordshire's interpretation is that Aspergers or Autism do not count unless they are so severe they deprive you of your driving licence - even though the DVLA website says you should not drive if your condition is severe enough to prevent you being safe.  ASD is not an 'automatic' exclusion from driving.  And by the same token it does not seem to be an automatic right to a bus pass either.

    I think what is expecially wrong is the assumption that if you have an ASD you might be ok intellectually and therefore you won't be eligible  This despite the fact that those with ASD can have severe difficulties in some areas.

    The West Midlands policy on diabled bus passes is here:

    West Midlands criteria for disabled bus pass

    The West Midlands Guidance Notes are here:

    West Midlands Guidance Notes

    Some of this seems to conflict with the Governments Autism Strategy, espeically their differentiation between a learning disability and a developmental disability, of which the developmental disability can lead to just as profound problems.

    This seems to be a lot more complicated and full of language not easy to undestand.  Being unable to explain where you want to go on the bus is clealy a disability under the criteria so you might want to emphasise this and the difficulty you have with money (and the fact that it annoys other passengers that their journey is being delayed by you having to spend time sorting your money out for the journey). 

    My advice would be to ignore the advice you had on the phone and fill in a form or ask for an interview where you can be accompanied by someone else who will have to answer the questions on your behalf as you don't have the necessary skills to answer them and it makes you very anxious.

    All in all the whole process seems geared towards putting people off from applying rather than helping those in need.

    .

  • I have just been looking at the guidance notes to the disability section in the Transport Act to which the local authorities place so much store.

    It says, if you have a PIP with 8 points (whatever 8 points mean but you may know more about this than me) you should be considered to have an automatic right.

    Also the distinguishing of Autism and other conditions is not, as far as I can see, part of the guidance in the act at all.  This seems to be just someone's interpretation.  Indeed, the guidance even states that neurological conditions may be considered to be eligible.

    The Guidance notes to the act are here:

    Department of Transport Guidance to disabilty eligibility for transport

    I would also consider making representations to your MP, they are usually very good at getting letters to the right people and they should be made aware of the difficulties we face.  They are, after all, the ones who make the laws.

  • Sorry but if you are driving then you not eligable for a bus pass.

  • That's not right, there is nothing in the regs about if you drive you can't get one.

    If you are medically stopped from driving by DVLA, then you can  automatically get a bus pass.

    The base line criteria which all local authorities have to use is that you can automatically get a Disabled Person's bus pass if you score 8 points on the MOVING around criteria on PiP or get high mobility DLA.

    If you score mobility points on PLANNING a journey then you won't automatically qualify. Some LAs are more generous and have a wider definition.  It's a postcode lottery.

    Come on NAS another campaign required to get MPs to change the regs!

  • I'm in Glasgow: just managed to get one because Autism comes under Mental Health and they argue that we may need to travel to appointments (it costs me over £4 round trip by bus to the Adult Autism Centre).

  • Considering that I'm the person that people go to when they want assistance with public transport, there's no way that I'd get one... nor would I want to, personally.

  • Hello. I am autistic and just applied for one a few weeks ago with mersey (read: misery)travel

    I got knocked back at 16 when I first applied because apparently I could "count money and walk" in the independent assessment and they told me to never apply again and that I can't appeal.

    so I applied abar 4 weeks ago and literally sent off my PIP letter with an instruction to ring up my GP since social services says it's not their job to supply a support plan as evidence for a bus pass application. however miserytravel have managed to get off their backsides and do something good for a change as to my surprise, they gave me a disabled person's bus pass the other day through the post! (FINALLY!!!!!)

    also not related but weston-super-mare is a really nice town, I've been there on holiday :)